Brad Smith returns with the third entry in his Virgil Cain series - Shoot the Dog.
Virgil is again just minding his own business, plowing the back forty with a pair of Percherons when some movie folks scouting for locations pull up and offer to rent the horses for their 'Frontier Woman' movie. Well, the taxes are coming due and the soybean crop failed last year, so yeah, Virgil could use the money. But those movie folks are quick to talk and slow to listen. They assume Virgil is the 'half-wit dullard hired hand' that works for Mr. Cain - and he lets them think it. Virgil on the other hand is slow to talk and quick to listen.
There's lots of set up before we even get to the crime, but oh can Smith spin a tale. His tongue in cheek take on the movie industry and celebrity is hilarious. The dialogue, conniving and back stabbing amongst the group is priceless. But when the leading lady ends up dead, Virgil can't help himself. He decides to be on set a little more - he's taken a shine to ten year old actor Georgia - and besides, she likes his horses.
"'So do you follow it, or does it follow you?' Buddy asked.
Virgil smiled and finished the beer."
Virgil is such a great character, from his droll dialogue, the way he thinks, his unerring sense of right and wrong and his decision to act on his principles. A white knight with manure on his workboots.
I love the laid back interactions between Virgil and his lover Detective Claire Marchand. (And I have to admit I'm a little jealous of Claire - Virgil is that laid back, quiet type that is oh appealing.) Claire on her own is just as great a character as Virgil - she's got a great mind and a sharp tongue - her dialogue with suspects cuts like a knife. These characters will appeal to readers of both sexes.
The goal of course it to solve who killed that leading lady, but the whodunnit in Shoot the Dog takes a backseat to the characters. And I wouldn't want it any other way.
Shoot the Dog is another entertaining romp of a read from Brad Smith. Smith has a sly, wry sense of humour that I truly enjoy. Do yourself a favour, pull up a chair on the porch, grab a beer and start from the first book - Red Means Run. You'll be hooked - on Brad Smith, not the beer. You can find Brad Smith on Facebook.
Readers who enjoy Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey's tongue in cheek mysteries will enjoy Brad Smith.